YouTube Video Ads: New Ad Formats and Targeting Options for 2019

YouTube Video Ads: New Ad Formats and Targeting Options for 2019

As we move into 2019, we continue to see paid search marketing networks grow and expand. Google is no exception, as we’ve seen the network diversify its efforts as well.

One opportunity that Google has further expanded and pushed over the last year is YouTube advertising. With Google’s help, YouTube has become a legitimate marketing channel that should be considered as we move into the new year.

Overall, YouTube is an attractive advertising platform as views are typically far cheaper than search ad clicks (sometimes as low as a few cents).

In addition, the YouTube network only charges advertisers when a user views the video ad for 30 seconds or longer. Those viewing the ads on YouTube generally have the option to skip the ad if it does not apply to them. In this case, you are only paying for customers that have proven to be interested in your product.

With the value of YouTube in mind, below is a breakdown of the targeting and ad options YouTube now offers.


Google currently offers several different targeting options on YouTube as you consider the opportunities available. Some of the highest traffic targeting opportunities are as follows:


Remarketing is the lowest-hanging fruit opportunity for YouTube. As with other remarketing opportunities across other networks, the goal is to get previous non-converting visitors to your website to come back to the website and take the desired action.

In-Market/Affinity Audiences

In-Market and Affinity audiences are the most traditional audiences available via YouTube targeting.  In both cases, Google has created pre-set audiences that are based upon TV-specific categories.

Affinity audiences focuses on targeting individuals that have shown a strong interest in the affinity topic begin targeted. YouTube Affinity audiences can be used to focus more on building brand awareness and purchase consideration.

In-Market audiences focus on users that are more actively researching products and that are closer to the buying stage of the purchase funnel. Historically, this is the audience that we recommend targeting for direct conversion results.

Custom Intent/Custom Affinity Audiences

Google now offers you the ability to create your own Custom Affinity and Custom In-Market (called Intent). These audiences allow you to customize your audience toward your brands.

As an example, as a business in the golf club space, rather than more general targeting the ‘Golf Enthusiasts’ Affinity or the ‘Golf Equipment’ In-Market, you could more specifically target “usga approved golf wedges” or “golf wedges for sand traps” to focus on an audience that is more specific to your brand.

Life Events

Google also has come out with the opportunity to target users based upon Life Events. These events include milestones such as moving, graduating from college, or getting married. While there are not many of these Life Events options to choose from yet, they are very specific and can help hyper-target these audiences when they are applicable,.

Ad Formats

In addition to there being a variety of audiences to choose from depending upon your objective, there are several YouTube video ad forms available as well:

TrueView In-Stream Skippable Video Ads

TrueView ads are the video ads that will play prior to the video that a user clicks on and would like to view. The TrueView format has proven successful because it gets in front of users and helps foster interaction.

If it’s an ad the user is interested in, they can click the video and are often directed to the website to convert. If the user is not interested, with the skippable video format, they are prompted to skip the video by clicking the ‘Skip’ button option. As stated above, in these situations, advertisers only pay when a video is viewed for 30 seconds or longer.

Based upon this skip option, you as the advertiser are only paying for relevant views from the most targeted audience. These ad formats can be used for either remarketing and prospecting targeted campaigns, providing enough additional information for users to act.

TrueView In-Stream Non-Skippable Video Ads

Non-skippable ads are becoming fully available and are similar to the above skippable format but the videos are less than 30 seconds and therefore cannot be skipped.

With that in mind, an advertiser is charged each time the video is shown. These video work best for remarketing campaigns, since the user has already expressed some interest in your product or service.

With less display time, the message must be short and concise, which works well when a user is already familiar with your brand.

TrueView Video Discovery Ads

Formerly known as TrueView In-Display Ads, these ads typically show up on the right-hand side of the video view page, the search results page, and sometimes even the homepage of YouTube.

These ads have a thumbnail image along with a small description line to entice viewers to click. As a result, they function more like traditional search ads. These ads are typically used for prospecting campaigns as opposed to remarketing campaigns.

Bumper Ads

Bumper ads are short 6 second or less video ads. They are similar to TrueView In-Stream ads in that they show up prior to the video users want to see. However, the videos are much shorter and can’t be skipped. Because of this, as the advertiser you are charged differently.

Bumper Ads are payed based on impressions, using a CPM (cost-per-thousand impressions) bidding. Therefore, you pay each time your ad is viewed 1,000 times. Bumper Ads are traditionally used for remarketing campaigns as they are designed to be short, reminder-based marketing messages.

Outstream Ads

A different ad format than traditional video ad formats, Outstream Ads are mobile-only ads that play on partner websites, including banners, native, in-feed, and interstitial placements. This video format is not yet available on YouTube.

Like videos on Facebook, these ads begin auto-playing without sound. Once the ad is tapped, the ad begins to play with volume.

In terms of pricing, advertisers are charged on a CPM basis, similar to Bumper Ads. Unlike Bumper Ads, however, those impressions aren’t necessarily automatic, but rather are added to the 1,000-impression count when more than half the ad is shown on the screen space for two or more seconds.

These ad spaces work well for brand awareness campaigns that do not have a specific conversion goal associated with them.

YouTube now offers a wide variety of video targeting and ad format options. With so many different opportunities, it is easier than ever to create a full-funnel YouTube strategy for your business as you head into 2019!

Brent Hahn

Brent has worked at Rocket Clicks since 2012 when he started as a PPC intern at Rocket Clicks. Now a manager within the PPC department for the last 3 years, Brent has managed over $1 million dollars in monthly ad spend spanning across both eCommerce and lead generation clients.